Gov't appeals ruling on nurses' restraining orders

Following lower court's decision not to force striking nurses back to work, TA District Attorney files appeal to National Labor Court.

December 13, 2012 18:05
2 minute read.
Nurses protest at Emek Yezreel College.

Nurses protest at Emek Yezreel College 370. (photo credit: Hadar Zevulun)


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Unsatisfied with the Tel Aviv Labor Court’s ruling earlier this week that it would not at this time issue restraining orders against nurses who have adopted sanctions, the Tel Aviv District Attorney filed an appeal on Thursday to the National Labor Court.

The case was due to be heard that night.

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The Tel Aviv court judge had stated that the Treasury was not genuinely negotiating and that the nurses had a right to apply sanctions. But the Treasury, which has said it cannot negotiate a new wage contract with the nurses or promise higher budgets before the Knesset elections take place, objected to the ruling.

Thursday was the 12th day of 28,000 nurses’ protest against public hospitals and Health Ministry facilities, but for the last two days, the sanctions have been eased to allow nurses to work in Clalit Health Services’ community clinics.

In its appeal to the national court, the government said that restraining orders were necessary to prevent even more harm to public health from the reduced Shabbat or emergency schedules that have been in force during the last two weeks.

Talks between the state and the nurses’ union took place on Wednesday, but they were fruitless.

Thousands of operations and coronary catheterizations have been postponed as a result of the sanctions, as have vaccinations of children in schools and well-baby clinics around the country. In addition, many thousands of examinations and treatments at hospital outpatient clinics and diagnostic institutes have been canceled.

The nurses held demonstrations outside various hospitals on Thursday.

On Sunday, maintenance workers, technicians and administrative personnel at all 14 Clalit-owned hospitals will hold sympathy protests outside their hospitals at 10 a.m. to identify with the nurses. They will return to work after the demonstrations.

Hadash MK Dov Henin accused the government of instituting “a murderous [financial] diet in the health system” that has created a severe shortage of nurses, doctors and hospital beds. He announced a proposal for reforming the system and making it more egalitarian. It includes the cancellation of privatizing the school health services and psychiatric care, and restoring them to government responsibility. It also calls for a reinstatement of the “parallel tax,” in which employees contribute money to the healthcare of its workers, that was canceled when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in his first term as premier.

Also on Sunday, nursing students in several parts of the country will stop their studies for two hours, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., and hold “support assemblies” instead, it was announced on Thursday night. The affected nursing schools are at the University of Haifa, Ben-Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, the Safed Academic College and the Yezreel Valley Academic College.

Uri Rashtik, chairman of the Students Association, said that it supported the nurses’ struggle for the future of the profession and the health system. The protesters will wear white coats and carry stethoscopes.

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